Mothers – Don’t Forget to Exhale

Here they are…in all their glory….20200712_212048This was Sunday night, and I had just gotten my babies back after their weekend with dad. I was so exhausted after two insomniac nights, but there’s not a chance I would turn down my four children wanting to plop on my bed and just hang out. How sweet is that?

There are endless moments like that as a mom. You know, when you are dead tired, but a child says, “Hey can we hang out?” Those moments are too special to ignore. What really warms my heart is the fact that they don’t actually use words to ask. They know they don’t have to. Oh mom is in her room? I’ll go hang there. The fact that a teenager plops on my bed, is enough to tell me they need company. No matter where I am, they know they are welcome. That’s what mom is for. Constant acceptance and love, until I leave this earth.

I still feel it from my own mother. I don’t have to ask. I am 48 years old, and the first place I want to be if I have had a bad day, or exciting news to share, is mom’s. Depending on the mood, the tea or wine will flow for as many hours as I am able to stay. Mom accepts me in every mood, through every mistake, and in every victory. That’s what us mom’s do.

It is a pretty simple task really…or at least it sounds that way. Just love them. The loving is the easy part. That began when the umbilical cord attached to my body, and also when I saw the cutest little Chinese girl on my computer, in need of a home. That was it. These kids need me to love them until my last dying breath? Done.

The hard part is letting go. Letting go when they want to walk on their own. Letting go when they want the training wheels off. Letting go when they can no longer kiss you in public. Letting go when they are going out with friends, getting jobs, and driving. Letting go when they leave your home for good. Letting go, letting go, letting go. Make it stop. 🙁

The truth is, although it hurts to let go, we cheer them on. What good is our parenting if  they can’t let go? Oh how I DESPERATELY want them all to never leave my sight, never get behind the wheel of a car, never choose careers that put them in danger, never leave my zip code, and never…please never get their hearts’ broken by this hardened world. So far I’ve experienced it all as a mother, and then some.

It comes with the territory. We knew what we were getting into. Okay, maybe not with the first child…the first one is a warning…your heart is now forever walking around outside of your body. Best wishes and good luck. Yet for many of us – we do it again – or again and again. Why? Because it is freaking awesome. Because nothing compares to motherhood.

Nothing compares to sticky faces that need a kiss. Nothing compares to little arms that wrap around your legs because you mean security in a world where everything is scary. Nothing compares to your pride filled heart when they say their first word, learn their shapes, get good grades, get their license, a job, and start showing you signs that they are becoming independent.

Nothing compares to the deepening voices of teenage boys who still wrap those arms around you and say, “I love you. You’re the best mom.”

Nothing compares to a teenage girl who never goes to bed without coming upstairs to tell  you goodnight, I love you, and let me know if I can help out tomorrow.

Nothing compares to a ten year old angel on earth, who just simply thinks you are the greatest thing since sliced bread..and reminds you every five minutes of every day.

Nothing compares to bitter sweet weddings as you “give” your daughter away, and your heart swells in amazement of her beauty, inside and out.  Nothing compares to watching that same daughter become a mother, and giving you the gift of a grandchild.

Nothing compares to watching a child do life on his own terms, and set off on great adventures, one after another, no longer needing help from mom…but loving enough to stay closely in touch, knowing she worries constantly.

And that’s motherhood in a nutshell. Loving with every last ounce of our souls…holding our breath as we watch them take on new risks, trials, joys, and adventures…then slowly exhaling, relieved that their goal or dream was safely fulfilled…until the next expression of freedom and adulthood shows up, and we lovingly, and oh so quietly, hold our breath again.